Trinidad-born Baroness Floella Benjamin introduces new book to Barbados

Barbadians took the opportunity to meet Trinidadian-born Baroness Floella Benjamin – a British actress, author, television presenter and producer, businesswoman and politician – on Saturday as she took part in a book signing event at Days bookstore in Independence Square, The Barbados Advocate reports.
Several people of all ages passed through the venue to pick up a copy of her latest book, Sea of Tears and used the opportunity to chat with her about a range of topics.
Noting that she and her family love Barbados, she opined that there “is something special about this island” and urged Barbadians to see the potential of what they have. “They have a jewel here and I do not want them to just give it away cheaply. Care for it, nurture it and make sure that your children grow up respecting your culture, women and their history,” she stated.
On the significance of her book and her intended message, she had these words of advice.
“What I want from this book is for people to understand that everybody has feelings and we can all help one another. The more you give, the more comes back to you. Be contented with what you have, be confident about who you are as a person and then you can give happiness to other people. Everything happens for a reason and will take you onto the next phase of your life.”
Admitting that her book was inspired from the experiences of a young girl she had met in Barbados some ten years ago, Benjamin says that she hopes her contribution can help people who read to believe in their self-worth.
The novel follows a 12-year-old South London girl, Jasmine, who is met with various social challenges when her parents decide to leave Britain and return to their homeland in Barbados. She leaves her friends, popular status, school and other familiarities behind and in turn faces prejudice, animosity and rejection in the Caribbean.
“This book is about how one can overcome challenges in the faces of adversity … and what people go through when they move back to the Caribbean. When someone comes back, they have a lot to offer and together we can build a great nation by using all the skills and knowledge they have … as it takes a change to make a difference for our children’s future,” she explained.
Baroness Benjamin, who had a similar personal story after having been born in Trinidad and moving with her family to England at age ten in 1960, shared that she experienced a huge culture shock as respect and kindness towards her was quite lacking at that time. Feeling unwelcomed, she never forgot her mother’s advice that education would be the key to unlock her barriers.
That experience, she said, led to her first book Coming to England – which she wrote in 1995 and was subsequently a staple in the school literature system. She also revealed that she is quite proud of the resulting Royal Television Society awarded feature movie, some of which was shot in Barbados.

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